Lawnmower Products Liability Case Considered by Federal Court in Illinois


The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit of Illinois recently considered whether a products liability lawsuit involving an allegedly defective lawnmower could proceed under Illinois law.

In Malen v. MTD Products, Inc., No. 08-3855, the plaintiff’s foot was injured when he slipped off of his riding lawnmower and his foot was struck by the blade. He and his wife brought a products liability lawsuit alleging that his injuries were caused by defects in the design of the lawnmower. In part, he alleged that two different safety features failed to function, thus resulting in his injuries.

On appeal, the defendants argued that the plaintiff’s own carelessness caused his injury, or, alternatively, that the lawnmower was not unreasonably dangerous or defectively designed.

The Court disagreed, concluding that the plaintiffs had met their burden of showing that there were issues of fact regarding causation and that the plaintiff’s own actions were not necessarily the sole cause of the accident...

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